Saturday, September 28, 2013

Fall Decorations, Bucket Filling, And Book Recommendations!

Fall Decorations--- A Cozy Classroom---- Sets the Mood for Learning!

Stimulating student imagination often happens via the senses.  Colors, smells, texture are exciting when the seasons change.  Fall has the smell of cinnamon, bright gold, red and yellow hues of the leaves, round orange pumpkins, the texture of straw, nuts and burlap. Owls, scarecrows, squirrels also add a fall touch.  

Fill the classroom with fall treasures to enhance the classroom ambiance.  A  candle will provide the cinnamon sent.  A garland of leaves brings nature into the classroom and lots of color!  Gather a few woodsy animal friends and you have a cozy fall classroom. A few things added can go along way to bring your students into the magic of the fall season.  Have Fun!!!

Here are two of my favorite art projects for fall:


Bucket Filling ------ A NEW Twist-- Take it to a NEW Level! 

 Reading Incentive Bucket Filling!

A Teacher’s smile, pat on the back, an encouraging note will do wonders for a student’s self esteem.  When a student does the same for another student, wonderful endorphins are released inside the child’s brain and joy happens.  Memories are made with a simple compliment scratched on a piece of paper and lovingly delivered to a classmate.  Why wait until Valentine’s Day to spread the love in the classroom?  Get started with a Bucket Filling system this week.  I know, some of you have already incorporated the bucket system because it has been around for years, SO I have something NEW for you!  You will LOVE the new twist to my bucket filling system.  

Bucket Filling System--- Getting Started
Student buckets are located on the front of my desk.  Each cup is attached with velcro and the name plates for each student is a magnet plate.  Fortunately, my desk is a metal desk!  Students write notes to fellow students on Friday and these notes put smiles on their faces, ending the week on a high note.  

Here is an example of a bucket system I used in 2nd grade.  The side of the air conditioning unit was magnetic.  Perfect!

NEW Use for Bucket Filling:  Surefire Reading Incentive- Double Duty System 

After hearing from a good number of parents at Back to School night about their concern that Johnny does not like to read, I developed this plan that has worked magic!  

In the supply bucket at each table group is a receipt pad.  Each receipt (NCR paper) makes two copies.   After a student reads a book from the classroom library, a receipt is filled out with a book recommendation.  I explain that a recommendation is like writing a short book commercial, which entices other students to read the book.  Students also rank the book from one to three.  Three stars is considered an outstanding book.  The white copy of the receipt is placed inside the book, so others may see the receipt.  The yellow copy is either given to another student by placing it in the bucket, or given to me.  Here are the great benefits of the system.  When I look at the library, I have instant data showing me which books are being read.  One group of boys read only Captain Underpants books, so I took the group aside I encouraged them to broaden their book reading experiences.  A group of girls, who are high readers, have started their own book club.  Girls that were not friends at the start of the year are now book buddies!  I can easily discover a student’s independent reading level. I see first hand that the struggling reader lacks the skill to reflect on what he/she has read, so I can give a mini-lesson on getting engaged in the story and what makes a good story.  The smiles at the end of the day on Friday are brighter and wider because they are excited about the complimentary notes, but also because they get a book recommendation!  Monday comes; the student is excited to find the book that a fellow student recommended!  Life is good!  Students are hooking other students to READ!  I discover what books have gone viral!  Book Buckets! Try it!


In non-teaching related news I have been redecorating and jazzing up my house like a mad woman.  Here are a few videos of my progress.  Be sure to subscribe to my shesparkletv YouTube channel!

My Garden:

My Pinterest yellow and grey guest room: 

Thanks for reading and watching all the way to the end! 


  1. Thank you so much for sharing this, Sheila! I used this in my classroom and it has really helped to improve relationships amongst my students. So helpful to see it implemented in an upper grade classroom so successfully. Thanks :) -Kari

    1. Yay! Glad you found this helpful! I told my mom to take a picture of your bucket system so I can see. The way you set up your buckets sounds extremely creative! I also love the name of your blog. Cute!


Sheila Chako
Sprinkle Teaching Magic